Michael Tindall, Area Financial Services: Area Financial Services embarked on a digital modernization effort in 2019 under the leadership of President and CEO Michael Tindall. The Ohio-based organization converted its member credit unions to Corelation’s KeyStone core processing solution as well as new digital banking solutions through a partnership with Bankjoy. Bankjoy has joined all six credit unions, including Directions, the largest credit union in the AFS, within just 35 days to go live on a streamlined deadline. The flexibility of these platforms provides AFS’s member credit unions with additional opportunities to maintain existing partnerships with other third-party solution providers and open doors for new ones, ultimately expanding the ability to optimize member services. AFS’ investment in digital banking has paid off as members respond positively to the new digital banking platform. Additionally, being able to deliver a world-class digital banking experience is a competitive advantage for AFS as it looks to add new credit unions to its CUSO.

Ben Teske, Greater Texas|Aggieland Credit Union: Greater Texas|Aggieland Credit Union ($993.2 million in assets, 81,954 members) achieved significant loan growth, including restructuring loan division, under the leadership of Executive Vice President and Chief Lending Officer Ben Teske and the adoption of artificial intelligence and machine learning. Using artificial intelligence, Teske has identified new ways to price loans and created a wider range of loan products that allow credit unions to offer pricing discounts based on a range of data points beyond credit scores. Teske’s technology-focused approach to lending paid off, increasing the credit union’s loan portfolio by 62% and increasing annualized loan production by 208%. Teske was also the lead architect for the Indirect Auto Loan Program, which expanded its auto loan portfolio. With a large number of well-performing loans on the books, he was the first to package and sell $50 million in two loan participation pools based on data analysis generated by the new loan origination system.

Amber Kaeter, Magnifi Financial CU: Magnifi Financial Credit Union ($1.7 billion in assets; 74,320 members) decided it would rather be an industry disruptor than risk being disrupted. Under the direction of Amber Kaeter, who leads the IT and digital teams, the credit union is deploying innovation not only to its mobile and online banking properties, but also to its branches. Starting in 2021, Amber’s team eliminated more than 100 ineffective and inefficient rules and began serving members using key digital technologies such as artificial intelligence, predictive analytics, robotics, and buying and selling cryptocurrencies. In the first year of deployment, robotic process automation eliminated more than 3,600 hours of manual and repetitive employee tasks, and predictive analytics impacted members to fund an additional $2.5 million loan. Thanks to its success and momentum as an industry disruptor in 2020/21, Magnifi is funded to increase innovation spending per employee by 51%.

April M. Clobes, Michigan State University Federal Credit Union: Through her credit union’s technology lab and CUSO, and as a consultant to industry groups, April Clobes, president and CEO of Michigan State University Federal Credit Union ($6.8 billion; 330,018 members) is spearheading the discovery and promotion of technology solutions to improve service and advance credit unions everywhere. Clobes helped MSUFCU launch The Lab in 2020 to identify innovation opportunities, and in April 2022, the agency accelerated this effort with AlumniFi, a digital brand that will Tailored banking services and alumni for unique needs. MSUFCU’s latest innovation stems from Clobes’ partnership with Reseda Group, a wholly-owned CUSO established by MSUFCU in 2021. The Reseda Group, which has invested more than $63 million to date, provides fintech companies with a complementary set of support tools to focus on credit unions as they develop strategies for growth as they scale. Several of Reseda’s portfolio companies were initially pilot partners of the MSUFCU lab.

Joe Welu, Total Expert: After a decade of building a real estate team with over $1 billion in sales, Joe Welu founded Total Expert in 2012 to meet the need for a marketing and sales platform that accommodated the complexities of the financial services industry. His childhood memories are of his parents’ bank foreclosure and then, thanks to a relationship with a local banker, they could afford to buy an ordinary house. This has led Welu to build an enterprise-grade marketing and sales solution specifically for banks and mortgage lenders that enables financial services organizations to re-humanize complex financial decisions through targeting, automation and personal communications to create lifetime customers and members . Total Expert’s software-as-a-service platform integrates industry-specific data and compliance requirements. Eight years later, the solution now drives marketing and revenue growth for 25% of total U.S. mortgage loan production, including 15 of the top 25 banks and lenders.

We’re excited to continue introducing the 2022 LUMINARIES category finalists, recognized this year for the many vibrant and inclusive ways the credit union industry is moving forward.

Finalists are selected by our editorial team from hundreds of star nominations in four award categories: Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Executive Leadership, Technology Innovation and Product Innovation.

This slideshow highlights the five finalists in our Technology Innovations: Individual Executive category. This is a group focused on developing and executing technological advancements to benefit the credit union system.

Finalists in the 2022 LUMINARIES category were recently reviewed by a diverse panel of judges from the credit union industry, and a selected group of winners will be announced at the program’s first awards dinner and dinner, which will take place on 11 Held on the 15th. 9 Four Seasons Hotels in Washington DC

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